Sunday, September 13, 2009

Arif Nizami's Termination - Update 2

So yeah, while the mud keeps flying between the Majeed and Arif Nizami camps - apparently nowhere more so than right here in the comments section of this blog - here's what Dawn reported today:

Arif Nizami to launch newspaper

By Our Staff Reporter
Sunday, 13 Sep, 2009 | 05:45 AM PST

LAHORE, Sept 12: Arif Nizami, who was recently removed as the editor of The Nation, plans to bring out his own newspaper “within months” and hopes to promote professionalism in the media.

Talking to Dawn about his future plans, he said he was not a rich man but could count on friends to help him launch his paper. He described the project as “a moral obligation” since one of his aims was to provide jobs to all those colleagues who had resigned to protest his sacking.

“The unprecedented support that I have received in the last few days only goes to prove my professional credentials,” Mr Nizami told Dawn by telephone. “It is heartening to see so many professionals standing by me.”

Arif Nizami’s departure last week from the group that was synonymous with his name has led to a raging debate in journalistic circles all over Pakistan. He has been hailed as someone punished for his professionalism and alternately described as a victim of internal strife.

Mr Nizami himself blames his ouster on a combination of “professional and personal reasons”. “Professionally, the space for independent journalism was getting squeezed with time because of certain economic and unprofessional pressures.

“During the last three months of my tenure, I was under intense pressure to resign. I withstood the pressure because I believed that the demand was being made of me because of personal and not professional reasons,” he said.

I guess what is interesting in this report , beyond the actual announcement, is the fact that Dawn has broken it. Keep in mind that Arif Nizami was always close to Dawn CEO Hameed Haroon. As for Majeed Nizami, I'm not really sure who he's ever been close to, professionally speaking of course. Other than Nawaz Sharif of course. Hmmm.

It's not that I haven't enjoyed the back and forth between the two camps, obviously coming from people rather close to the main parties on both sides. (And who knew people were so eager to spill all the deep dark secrets of each others' personal lives.) But really, folks, a little civility to each other would not be an unreasonable demand.

By the way, for all those holding up Hameed Nizami as some sort of shining beacon, he may rightly be called one of the pioneers of journalism in Pakistan, but he was hardly either an upholder of progressive values or a champion for workers and the under-priveleged. His editorial line was exactly what is wrong with Pakistan today - hypernationalist, pro-establishment and right-wing. McCarthyist would not be an inappropriate appellation for him with regards to the left / liberal sections in Pakistan. And en masse lockout of workers protesting non-payment of salaries was fairly common during his days.

Just to set the perspective straight.

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